More than 1,000 people, players and their entourages, were obliged to undergo 14 days of quarantine upon their arrival in Australia ahead of the year's first Grand Slam.
Nothing could separate two great rivals in the mid-range exchanges, while the Serb had a slim advantage in the shortest and most advanced rallies to forge the triumph.
Daily crowds of between 25,000 and 30,000 will be permitted to watch the Australian Open, which begins on February 8. "I didn't miss the game that much", Kyrgios said on Saturday.
Many people will opt to steer clear altogether, said Danielle Cummins, an aged care worker, who was having a glass of wine at a near-empty bar in the city.
The Australian Open has always been the jewel in Melbourne's sporting crown but residents with bitter memories of COVID-19 lockdowns fear the Grand Slam could yet prove a poisoned chalice.
"Had probably the most exciting matches played on this court, and definitely the longest match ever that I played was in the finals, nearly six hours with Rafa (Nadal) in 2012".
"The Rod Laver Arena will have an incredible atmosphere, not unlike the atmosphere we've seen in tournaments in recent years", said Pakula. "And the only way to do that is to go to the courts and do our best ".
Melbourne endured one of the world's longest lockdowns previous year and many locals have concerns about the potential Covid risk posed by the tournament. "I wanted to play, I wanted to get out there". "We are still in a very tough situation, but I think Australia is an unbelievable example of how to control things in the right way, so many congratulations to the country", Nadal said after beating Dominic Thiem. Both players showed obvious signs of rustiness, hitting set-up winners out of play or netting relatively easy shots. "It's definitely hard with a three-year-old to be in the hotel all day, but it's worth it because you want everyone to be safe at the end of the day".
Novak is eager to make the strongest start of the season, just like in 2020 when he didn't lose a match before September. Djokovic got treatment for a blister on his right hand, leaving Sinner to play Filip Krajinovic, but the eight-time Australian Open champion arrived on court at the start of the second set to cheers from the crowd. I wish him all the luck in the world, "said the Greek".
"It feels like ages, you know, playing without fans".
"We can't thank enough South Australia and Tennis Australia".
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